Judge reverses his decision to allow Bader's lawyers access to records of witness
BY MARTHA BELLISLE
A Washoe District Court judge reversed himself Wednesday and told lawyers for Catherine Bader Wyman, convicted of the 1974 murder of her adopted son, that he would not sign an order allowing them to seek the mental health records of Wyman's main accuser: her estranged daughter.
Judge Jerry Polaha said after reviewing objections from the prosecutor and doing research, he did not believe Wyman's lawyers had successfully shown they would find something material in the records to warrant a new trial.
But Polaha said he would allow the lawyers to seek information about what drugs Julie Bader Dunn was taking when she testified against her mother during the June trial.
"I saw her testify, and there was something going on there," Polaha said.
He issued a stay on that order for 15 days to allow the prosecution to appeal his decision to the Nevada Supreme Court. If they don't, Wyman lawyers Martin Wiener and Dennis Widdis can seek information about the drugs through a court in California, where Dunn had received treatment.
Dunn testified she saw her mother kicking 3-year-old James "J.W." Bader in the stomach on a daily basis, and that abuse led to his death. She said she didn't tell anyone for years to protect her family.
Wyman was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Deputy District Attorney Scott Pearson praised Polaha's ruling.
"This was a classic fishing expedition," Pearson said after the hearing.